Friday, September 13, 2019

A Coffee Table Redo

Yesterday a friend was looking at desks for his home office. He found one that was the right fit but was complaining that it was the wrong color. So I suggested he just sand it down and stain it the color he wants. I told him it would take two hours, tops. Him: That's way too much work... And then, reconsidering and sizing me up, Would you do it if I paid you $100? No, I most certainly will not, because you can do this on your own. (Sidenote: boys are the worst. Even if they look incredibly handsome in their new glasses.)

I was talking recently with a girlfriend about how people are so complimentary when I post furniture redos on Instagram and she said it's because I give people hope that they can tackle similar projects. And I thought, well that's silly, of course anyone can do this. So I'm here today to tell it straight - guys, I don't have a degree in rocket science or furniture restoration (it's actually in Writing). I just try things, hope that they look good, and if they don't I start over. My point being, you just have to want to give something a try. That's it. And nowadays you can find directions for almost anything on the internet.

So anywho, my uncle gave me a coffee table a couple years ago from his basement.

It had some dings but was in otherwise decent shape. My only qualm was that the stain felt extremely dated. I could picture this table in someone's house in the 60s and while I like an antique I want my staging to feel fresh. 

True to most projects, the minute I set everything up my father appeared and took up my sander. He is nothing if not predictable. And then three quarters of the way through he stopped sanding and went inside to watch tv. So I finished the top and then took to the sides. For any newcomers to sanding, the thing to remember is that once you take off the stain, if you keep the sander in one place it will continue bearing down. So I had to be careful with the sides as they were rounded. And sure, some of the curve was lost and squared off a bit, but I don't need a perfect piece of furniture so it's fine.

Once the stain was removed I realized I really loved the natural wood and the idea of darkening it made me sad. So I went to the hardware store and chose a milky stain.

I knew I didn't want the legs to be the same color as the top, but I wasn't happy with the original stain. It felt like the table was still anchored in the past. So I thought I'd give painting them black a try and if it looked awful I'd figure out a plan B.

I only did one coat of black paint and it's imperfect. I should have taken a close-up. but because I only did one coat some of the original stain shows through in between brush strokes, which I thought about covering but then thought better of it. Again, I don't want flawless pieces. I want there to be character and imperfections and the way the paint adhered looks antique.

I love how this coffee table turned out and it's not even for my home. It's one of my staging pieces. But now that I've seen how it turned out I'm thinking maybe I should do this with the coffee table in my apartment. Or maybe I'll try something completely different.

Again, I just want to reiterate that you can do this, too. Sanding took me an hour (it would take longer using sandpaper (if you don't own a sander) but it's still doable), staining took maybe ten minutes, and painting took maybe another hour because I was listening to music and going slow and just enjoying the weather. But don't be intimidated. Just try. I believe in you.

~ Stephanie


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